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Jack the Ripper tours raise cash for Bethnal Green air-raid shelter disaster

PUBLISHED: 13:53 02 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:53 02 September 2013

Edward Stow (left) shows tourists where Charles Lechmere was seen leaning over Polly Nichols' body (see model) in Buck's Row (Durward St)

Edward Stow (left) shows tourists where Charles Lechmere was seen leaning over Polly Nichols' body (see model) in Buck's Row (Durward St)

Archant

An historian delving into Jack the Ripper’s first known victim 125 years ago has raised £650 for a memorial to Britain’s worst civilian wartime disaster more than half-a-century after the Whitechapel Murders.

Ripper suspect Charles Lechmere's great, great-granddaughter, Sue Lechmere, at spot where her ancestor was found with Polly Nichols' body in Buck's Row (Durward St) Ripper suspect Charles Lechmere's great, great-granddaughter, Sue Lechmere, at spot where her ancestor was found with Polly Nichols' body in Buck's Row (Durward St)

Edward Stow led two guided tours on Saturday around the streets of Bethnal Green and Whitechapel linking the 1888 killings and the 1943 air-raid shelter tragedy with the latest theory about who the Ripper was.

He began the tour at the incomplete memorial to the 173 men, woman and children killed on the narrow, dimly-lit staircase leading down into the shelter during an air-raid alert on March 3, 1943, at what is now Bethnal Green Underground station.

Money from the tour is going to the Stairway to Heaven trust to complete the £400,000 memorial.

Saturday was the 125th anniversary of the murder of Polly Nichols in Buck’s Row, today’s Durward Street, 10 minutes’ walk from the memorial.

But Stow also included Doveton Street, off Cambridge Heath Road, where Charles Lechmere, the latest suspect, was living at the time.

He has uncovered evidence linking Lechmere to the Whitechapel Murders, having been seen leaning over the body of the first victim in 1883, and in his research discovered that three of Lechmere’s family were among the victims of the 1943 disaster.

His tour also followed Lechmere’s route to work past 29 Hanbury Street, where the Ripper’s second victim Annie Chapman was murdered, and past what was once Dorset Street where fifth victim Mary Kelly was killed.

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